Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 111–164 | Cite as

Controlling for Doubt and Uncertainty Through Multiple Lines of Evidence: A New Look at the Mesoamerican Nahua Migrations

  • Christopher S. Beekman
  • Alexander F. Christensen
Article

Abstract

Nahuatl represents a relatively recent extension of the Uto-Aztecan language family into Mesoamerica. Ethnohistorians have linked Nahuatl's arrival to the historically attested migrations of nomadic people into central Mexico in the last centuries before the Spanish Conquest. Archaeologists have tended to treat migration as an explanation for a change in material culture rather than a social question to be examined theoretically. We approach this migration through the comparison of multiple data sets and conclude that what has previously been treated as a historical event is instead part of a longer term process tying together Mesoamerica's northern periphery with its highland core. While we find that certain themes from migration theory are reflected in this preindustrial migration as well, other variables are unique and bode well for archaeology's ability to address and contribute to theoretical issues relating to migration.

anthropology Mesoamerica migration Aztec Nahua 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher S. Beekman
    • 1
  • Alexander F. Christensen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ColoradoDenver
  2. 2.U.S. Army Central Identification LaboratoryHawaii

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